Photo: By brostad on Flickr
There’s a black market for craft beer.Brewers have taken things to the next level, spending the time and effort to increase the complexity and scarcity of their beers, catering to the crowd of rabid consumers who spend hours on beer-rating websites like RateBeer.com.
Christian DeBenedetti, editor-in-chief of The Weekly Pint, has covered the craft beer industry since the ’90s and he wrote in a story at Slate that he thought he’d seen it all.
That is, until he saw the beer black market in action.
At New York’s Blind Tiger bar one late afternoon last March, a slight, unsmiling young man in a dark windbreaker ordered several pints of beer from the bar, transferred them one by one to a canteen, then slipped away.
“He’s going straight home to resell that on eBay,” muttered a patron standing nearby.
The perishable beer in question was brewed by Shaun Hill at Hill Farmstead brewery in Vermont, which is currently rated the sixth best brewery in the world by the users of RateBeer.
It’s illegal to sell alcohol for consumption unless you have a licence, but there’s plenty of the shady practice happening on eBay. DeBenedetti wrote that the number of successful auctions closed is in the thousands. Sellers ignore U.S. laws and eBay’s rules.
And prices for some of these beers are spectacularly high. Here’s a single 12-ounce bottle of unopened Midnight Sun M that sold for $1,310 on eBay.
The description of the item reads: “The bottle is a factory-sealed unused bottle and the content of the bottles are incidental.” Below, a disclaimer notes that “any incidental contents are not intended for consumption.”
NOW WATCH: Briefing videos
Business Insider Emails & Alerts
Site highlights each day to your inbox.